NIQUE: Empowering freedom and upholding excellence


As shared during the 2021 CORPS conference, Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson have begun codifying their own training system. NIQUE is committed to helping dance teachers and students become more fluid, versatile, and culturally interconnected. Drawing from over twenty-seven years of internationally revered repertoire, NIQUE uses sound anatomical principles and cutting-edge choreography to propel student growth and excellence. The proposed lecture demonstration with heavy emphasis on movement exploration, seeks to unpack five key principles of this emerging technique: coordination, physical ignition, precision, efficiency, and clarity of form. Integrated discussions will highlight specific teaching methods and practices that help redefine gender norms and promote equity, diversity, and inclusion within the ballet classroom. Examples include non-binary spoken and curated movement languages and obtaining on-going consent for tactile feedback and touch. From an aesthetic perspective, we will examine how the exposing of effort, directing of gaze, removal of gendered expectations, and offering of choices, help liberate and empower ballet students. Among Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s foremost innovations is the notion that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. NIQUE bridges the divide between classical and contemporary movement languages, activates keen memorization skills allowing students to quickly interpret complex movement sequences, increases the body’s availability and fluency, and helps dancers to unlock their expressive potential. As part of the creative team helping support the development of the NIQUE teacher training manual, co-presenters are honored to share the work and vision of two prolific artists who have reshaped ballet.